Belles is an entertaining read. The characters and settings are vibrant, and there is a good, strong message about being yourself, not judging, and having guts. I am looking forward to the next book.
Belles starts off by meeting Izzie Scott and Mira Monroe (Also known as Isabelle and Mirabelle). Izzie is a sweet girl who lives in a poor town, Harborside, where she swims and has ice cream with her friends each day. Her home life isn't so good though. Her grandma has medical issues and on somedays doesn't even know she has a granddaughter. Izzie is only narrowly avoiding foster care.
Mira Monroe is a snobby rich girl who hangs out with other girls like herself. Of course, she doesn't mean to be snobby, it is just the way things are in Emerald Cove, the glamorous part of North Carolina. Mira is best friends with one mean girl, Savannah, and turns a blind eye to her friends cruel comments and actions. Mira is a good girl at heart, just she has no guts.
One day Izzie gets the bad news that her Grandmother is moving into a nursing home. She is sent off to some distant relatives she didn't know she has, the Monroes. Izzy doesn't fit in to Emerald Cove, especially after she makes enemies with Savannah. Even Mira plots with her friends behind Izzies back. She blames Izzie for the changes happening in her family and social life.
Throughout the book there are a lot of good messages. When Izzie is judged unfairly, and laughed at because of where she came from, we learn to not judge without backstory and evidence. We learn to have guts to stand up to not-so-much friends. And to do what you want to do, not what others tell you to do.
I love how Mira grows throughout the story, she becomes not so afraid of being herself. Izzie helps her a lot with this. She sees how Izzie is real, not like her friends. A lot of Mira's attitude in the beginning of the book is caused by the society around her. She doesn't know how to act any other way. Emerald Cove is kinda a snobbish place, but I hope Izzie and Mira can change it. Especially since there are a lot of good people in Emerald Cove, just the mean ones hold the reins.
This book has secrets, blackmail, mean girl plotting, and the hopes of two budding romances. It kept me reading with all it's drama, good messages, and real characters. I highly recommend this book.